1. Yo! Noid – Just about every licensing property under the sun got it’s chance at becoming a Nintendo Entertainment System title, and Domino’s Pizza’s Noid was no different.
Somewhat similar to Super Mario Brothers 2, Yo! Noid started out as a different game in Japan and was reskinned to feature the character on its North American release. The game added to the already-complex lore of the Noid by introducing a bad Noid, intent on destroying (or aggravating) New York City. The mayor smartly employs the good Noid (who is a bad guy in the Domino’s Pizza commercials) to fight the bad Noid (whose stance on ruining pizzas is undetermined). The moral ambiguity is only slightly less complex than Game of Thrones.
Here’s some gameplay, which simplifies things a bit. Go left to right, don’t touch the bad guys. It’s actually a decent platformer.
And here’s the box art for its predecessor, Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru, which looks pretty bizarre in its own right:
2. Powerhouse – Powerhouse was produced for PBS in 1982, but I caught it on Nickelodeon a few years after that. The Powerhouse was a YMCA-type place in Washington DC where kids and grownups would come together and tackle various issues in typical kid show fashion. I always thought they fought crime and I just kept missing those parts, but they didn’t fight crime. Still, it’s a pretty hip-looking show:
Since Powerhouse ran on PBS it didn’t have any commercials; they still formatted themselves like a show that did have commercial breaks, though, and ran what they called “uncommercials” in the break that were little educational blips.
Powerhouse ceased production after one season, but was part of Nickelodeon’s efforts to fill their schedule as they got up to speed throughout the early-mid ’80s.
3. Food Fighters – In 1988 Mattel released the Food Fighters, a creepily perfect line of toys that anthropomorphized food. This food didn’t engage in your typical cafeteria antics, though. This food was at war.
The good guys were the Kitchen Commandos, led by the Burgerdier General:
The bad guys were the Refrigerator Rejects, lead by the Mean Weener:
The rest of the pantry fell on either side of this distinct line. I applaud Mattel for taking the idea of juvenile food waste and wrapping it in a layer of wartime atrocities. This French commercial for Food Fighters sums up the insanity pretty well:
The stop-motion is pretty awesome. It’s worth noting that there was no book/comic/cartoon interest in Food Fighters. It was just the toys. That’s rare.
4. Phrenology diagrams – I want to print all of these out and put them up around my house. Here are some phrenology diagrams from a 1902 publication. About phrenology.
5. A Swan Car From 1910 – Here’s a swan car from 1910: